Drink Recipe: Daikon Green Tea-ni

My first article for NPR’s “Kitchen Window” is running today.  It’s called “Relishing the Radish,” and if that’s how you found your way here – welcome!

Of course I couldn’t help slipping in a cocktail recipe. Originally, I had planned to use Scott Beattie’s super-pretty Gin Kimchi cocktail recipe, which features a zingy pickled daikon, but frankly it was just too darn complicated. So then I started casting about for different ways to use radishes in cocktails, each time coming back to daikon. I sifted through sake, citron vodka, ginger beer, fresh ginger, and pickled ginger before settling on gin and ginger liqueur, with fresh, un-pickled daikon.

To be honest, the fresh daikon flavor is a little too subtle in the drink for my taste. but I figured that for most folks without Teflon tastebuds, the flavor should be just about right. If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

Daikon Green Tea-ni

Gin is flash-infused with green tea to create this subtle sipper, which melds with earthy daikon and piquant ginger flavors.  Taste the daikon first for pungency; if the radish is very mild, use an extra couple of slices.

Makes 1 cocktail

1 green tea bag

2 ounces gin

3-5 pieces of daikon radish, peeled and sliced thin

1 ½ ounces Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

1 mint sprig, for garnish

Immerse tea bag in hot water for 10 seconds, then remove it and immerse it in the gin. Allow to steep for five minutes. Remove tea bag before proceeding to next steps.

Use a muddler or the back of a spoon to crush the pieces of daikon at the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add tea-infused gin, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with mint sprig.

Let’s Get Pickled: Kimchi Cocktails

Kimchi Bloody Mary - Photography by Jessica Boucher

Kimchi Bloody Mary - Photography by Jessica Boucher

Just when you finally got used to crazy ingredients like chile peppers and wasabi in your cocktails, I’m going to throw you a curve ball:  kimchi cockails!

Kimchi is a Korean side dish – usually pickled and fermented Napa cabbage, but I’m told that there are as many kimchi recipes as there are Koreans. In other words, the vegetable can differ, and so can the pickling liquid and technique. But considering the recent spate of nifty books on pickling, not to mention the recent International Pickle Day, which had a fair kimchi representation, and the simple pleasures of the Pickleback cocktail, it seems time to put new meaning behind the words “Let’s Get Pickled.”

So we’re talking kimchi cocktails today, folks. If you’d like something easy to make, I recommend the Spicy Kimchi Bloody Mary, which uses a new product called Mother-In-Law’s Kimchi – one of the kimchis on show at the International Pickle Festival. But if you’re feeling more ambitious, may I suggest…


Gin Kimchi - Photography by Sara Remington

 The Gin Kimchi

 I first heard about this drink two years ago, when Scott Beattie, then of Cyrus, presented drinks from his gorgeous “Artisanal Cocktails” book at Tales of the Cocktail. It’s beautiful, complicated, and features pickled ginger and daikon (a Japanese radish) — but no cabbage.

1 1/2 oz. Sarticious gin

3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 oz. Ginger-Shiso syrup (recipe follows)

8 pieces Pickled Ginger (recipe follows)

8 pieces Pickled Daikon (recipe follows)

5 small shiso leaves, cut into chiffonade

3/4 oz. Bundaberg or Cock’n Bull ginger beer

Combine the gin, juice, and syrup in a mixing glass and give it a stir. Add the pickled vegetables, the shiso, and enough ice to fill the mixing glass. Cover and shake a few times. Add the ginger beer, and pour it into a stemmed water glass or a tall collins glass to serve.

To make Ginger-Shiso Syrup (makes 1 cup)

1 cup simple syrup, chilled

2 drops essential oil of ginger

2 drops essential oil of galangal

1 drop essential oil of perilla (shiso)

Combine the simple syrup and essential oils in an airtight container. Cover and shake well to mix the oils into the syrup. Keeps for about 2 weeks, refrigerated.

To make Asian Pickling Liquid (for Ginger & Daikon – makes 1 2/3 cups)

1 cup rice wine vinegar

1/3 cup mirin

1/3 cup filtered sake

1/2 cup sugar

Combine the rice wine vinegar, mirin, and sake in a stainless steel saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Allow the liquid to cool before pouring into an airtight container.

Pickling shorthand: The daikon and ginger each are sliced thinly and (in separate batches) marinated in pickling liquid, which is brought to a boil, poured over the vegetables, and then allowed to cool. A red beet is added to the ginger to create that pretty deep pink color. 

The full recipe is about 3 pages long…not exactly blog friendly. But if you aspire to make the cocktail and want more detail than I’ve provided, I encourage you to buy the book. You’ll want to try the five-spice Waverly Place Echo cocktail anyway, trust me!